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Boot/Ski Review: Nordica Speedmachine, Volkl Allstar, Stockli SS

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

185 lbs.
Level 8
44 y/o

Venue: Mammoth Mountain
Conditions: top mid 20's, base mid 30's to mid 40's at the end of the day, 4" new snow on top with soft wind packed powder, fluffy crud, corn, soft bumps and some beautiful groomed. Lower groomers were really nice and smooth... hard in the morning from the warm temps... even some ice near the bottom.

Nordica Speedmachine 14: After trying on nearly every boot made for months I decided to go with the SM 2 sizes smaller than my street shoe. In the past I always skied in top line race boots with a race fit from Lange and Technica. I found my foot has changed over the past 10 years and the Nordica had the best fit out of the box. I wanted an all-mountain boot with more comfort and forward flex than my old race boots without sacrificing too much performance.

I have to say the SM came through in spades. Quite frankly, it performed like a race boot IMO. The liners did pack out a touch after a couple days but I never got past the second notch on the top to buckles and the first notch on the lower buckles. The performance of the SM is in a word, immediate. Whatever you put in comes out... good or bad. The boots were noticably stiffer on the mountain than at home. Being an old school guy, they didn't feel "too" stiff in any way. The fit of the boot is probably the best I have had out of the box. No mods with the exception of some 15 year old footbeds. I will have to get a slight punch on my sixth toe (as always) but nothing else needs attention. Overall I am very pleased. The boots were a bit expensive IMO but they do deliver as promised.

Volkl Allstar 168cm: This ski has taken me on a ride and I wanted to give it some time before reviewing. I originally purchased this ski in a 175cm thinking I would never even consider a 168cm... I didn't even consider a demo in a 68. Not one person at any shop recommended a 68 for my size and ability. I was satisfied the 75 was it. Fast forward a couple months: after reading and hearing countless consumer reviews at the beginning of the season I doubted my selection of the 75. I decided to demo a 68 before I rode my new 75's... The 68 was always out when I tried. After much debate I decided to purchase the 68. The shop told me I could have full credit so I took a chance...

The 168 cm Allstar was a giant surprise. I tried a lot of ski's before purchasing the AS and nothing felt anything like this ski to me. The edge hold and power on hardpack and ice is unlike anything I have skied. The ski works surprisingly well in bumps and crud too. I loved it in the fluffy chutes and wide open bowls and Mammoth yesterday and they killed the groomers. Turns on a dime and has a seemingly limitless gas pedal (for a ski of this length). Feels like a 207cm chop stick at speed IMO. Contrary to the magazine reviews, I don't find the AS hard to ski or requiring a ton of muscle. However, it does like to be skied fast and requires a nice touch at lower speeds. This ski needs to be ridden not pushed through turns. The beauty of the AS (in this length) is it's versitility. An ability to do short snappy turns when need be, carve long or tight arcs at most any speed and that kool little gas pedal. Overall: I dig it! The guys I was skiing with yesterday made a couple cracks about my ice skates in the morning and later asked me what the heck I was skiing on.

Stockli Stormrider Scott Schmidt 178cm: I received these skis in trade from a shop that mismounted a pair of Volkl Mantra's. I didn't know much about the SS except it was way more money than I would consider spending on a ski. After reading the reviews of the SS I was skeptical if it was right for me. "Mean", "Mack truck", "Steam Roller", were some of the descriptions.

Unfortunately we didn't get the snow that was expected this week so I didn't get to try the SS in any significant new snow. I did get the ski in some soft crud, hardpack and slushy groomers. First thing that came to mind "FAST". First run was on a connecting trail (flat groomer) to another lift. I couldn't believe how fast I was going down a flat hill. I was carving turns and the skis just kept accelerating. First real run was down a long soft blue groomer... FASTER. The SS is easier to ski than expected. It does require attention but it does exactly what you tell it to do and does exactly what it's suppose to do. The edge hold was surprisingly great on hard snow for such a wide ski. It absolutely loves the softer crud and soft groomers. Just lean it over and ride the train. Stable would be an understatement. Even does decent short turns for such a steamer. It has a completely different feel from the Allstar. More old school for lack of a better term but in a good way. I felt very confident on the SS... almost too confident in the light crud and soft groomers. The ski could even be described as scary IMO. The GRX for you Speed Racer fans. I don't know if there is a speed limit here but I do know I won't be going that fast some time soon. Wish I had the SS mid day yesterday off the top of Mammoth. The Allstars were great but I'm guessing the SS would have been sublime on the big wide open fluffy bowls. The verdict: jury's still out... I purchased the Mantra mostly for deeper powder/crud days and I didn't get the SS into those conditions. That will be the final acid test to be completely satisfied. From what I did get, the SS is and incredible ski probably made for skiers that are on a different level than I am. For now I will just enjoy ride and look forward to Utah in 3 weeks.

post #2 of 3
Moods, I echo your Allstar review. I bought 5-Stars last year at 182, then RX8's at 175, before finally hearing all the noise about Allstars at 168 and gave them a try. Short story, the others are up for sale. I've got a powder ski (Salomon Scream Xtra Hots in 175) and will be looking for a race ski (Atomic ST-11 or Volkl Racetiger SL Racing) for some club and gate fun, and those 3 skis ought to be really make the right quiver for me, with the Allstars seeing the most use.
post #3 of 3

Another Allstar Fan

44, 5'9", 195 lbs, Level 8, ex-racer. The great white and icy North East.

I would totaly second that review. Although I chose the 175 over the 168 (which I also tried). The determining factor for me really was my skiing style and speeds I like to travel at. I found the 175 a little quicker and more stable/smooth at speed. I also ski a 190cm 2003 Salomon equipe 10 2V so the 175 felt right. I find the Allstar easier to ski then then most reviews claim. Although you do need to stay focused on these skis or they will beat you up if you get lazy and/or tired. They are very quick and will go where they want if you don't pay attention. Sometimes after skiing my Salomons for a few hours I find myself getting punished. It's like moving from an M5 to an M3 BMW, fun but you can't be discussing kid's homework with the wife.. Can't say these skis do well in any type of powder or spring and there is better bump equipment out there. This brings me to ski #3. Volk Karma for when it snows, spring slush or after a few beers.
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